Largest Margins of Victory on the PGA Tour: The All-Time Record

What is the PGA Tour record for largest margin of victory? A whopping 16 strokes. In the tour's history, which traces back to 1916, there are four golfers who won a tournament by 16 shots.

Those four record-holders are J. Douglas Edgar, Joe Kirkwood Sr., Sam Snead and Bobby Locke. In addition to going over the record-setting victories notched by those four, we'll also show you more golfers who won PGA Tour tournaments by very large margins.

The Record-Holders: 16-Stroke Wins

  • J. Douglas Edgar, 1919 Canadian Open: In just the fourth year of existence for what we now, today, call the PGA Tour, J.D. Edgar scored 278 — a very low score for the time — to record the tour's first 16-stroke margin of victory. There were three runners-up. One was Karl Keffer, who won the Canadian Open two times previously. The other two were — are — far more famous: Bobby Jones and Jim Barnes. Jones was only 17 years old, and Edgar, then working at an Atlanta club, was a mentor and coach to Jones at the time. Edgar died in 1921, stabbed to death on an Atlanta street in a murder that remains unsolved.

  • Joe Kirkwood Sr., 1924 Corpus Christi Open: Kirkwood, like Edgar an immigrant to America (Edgar from England, Kirkwood from Australia), won this tournament for his third victory in four weeks on tour. He won the Houston Open 2½ weeks earlier, becoming the first Australian to win on the PGA Tour. The week prior to the Corpus Christi Open, he won the Texas Open. And in the Corpus Christi Open, the golfer who finished second, 16 strokes behind, was Bobby Cruickshank.

  • Sam Snead, 1936 West Virginia Closed Pro: It's surprising to us that the PGA Tour today includes Snead's 16-stroke win among its margin-of-victory record-holders. First, the "Closed" in the tournament name indicates that only West Virginia golfers could play it; second, this tournament was only 36 holes. The Tour has commonly, retroactively, called such tournaments "unofficial events." But, in fact, today the Tour still counts Snead's 16-stroke victory along with the others on this list. The runner-up was a West Virginia pro named Clem Wiechman.

  • Bobby Locke, 1948 Chicago Victory National Open: The golfer dubbed "Ol' Muffin Face" by Snead, Bobby Locke only spent a short amount of time playing in America. But the South African (who won four British Opens) made his mark: In 59 tournaments from 1947-50, he won 13 times and finished in the Top 4 34 times. At the Chicago Victory in 1946, his 16-stroke win over runner-up Ellsworth Vines (a tennis Hall of Famer) makes him the most-recent golfer to win by that margin.

Other Largest Margins of Victory in PGA Tour History

Looking beyond the four golfers who share the all-time record, these are the other biggest winning margins on the PGA Tour:
  • 15 strokes — Tiger Woods, 2000 U.S. Open Championship
  • 14 strokes — Gene Sarazen, 1935 Massachusetts Open
  • 14 strokes — Ben Hogan, 1945 Portland Open Invitational
  • 14 strokes — Johnny Miller, 1975 Phoenix Open
  • 13 strokes — Byron Nelson, 1945 Seattle Open
  • 13 strokes — Gene Littler, 1955 Tournament of Champions
  • 13 strokes — Phil Mickelson, 2006 BellSouth Classic
  • 12 strokes — Byron Nelson, 1939 Phoenix Open
  • 12 strokes — Arnold Palmer, 1962 Phoenix Open Invitational
  • 12 strokes — Jose Maria Olazabal, 1990 NEC World Series of Golf
  • 12 strokes — Tiger Woods, 1997 Masters Tournament

See also:
Largest margins of victory in a major championship
Biggest winning margins on the Champions Tour
Largest margins of victory in LPGA history

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